Yukon Quest organizers still expecting 2022 race to go ahead

·1 min read

The head of the Yukon Quest's Canadian office says organizers are still expecting the sled dog race to return a little more than a year from now.

"Usually, we start preparing for the race in April … so we are actually quite a bit ahead of schedule this year now because of that involuntary timeout," Josi Leideritz, executive director of Yukon Quest International Association Canada, said on Tuesday.

The race, normally held annually and stretching about 1,600 kilometres in Alaska and in Yukon, was split in two before being cancelled.

Leideritz said modifications to the race haven't been determined yet, but organizers are looking into potentially altering checkpoint layouts and how people involved in the event are transported, among other aspects.

Steve Silva/CBC
Steve Silva/CBC

Despite any health safety measures necessary at the time, they're expecting a relatively standard competition, she said.

"I think we're all pretty hopeful with the current vaccine rollout that things will be able to go back to normal, whatever that new normal might look like," Leideritz said, also noting that international travel restrictions are currently in effect.

Financially, the association is "doing OK," and merchandise sales, including branded face masks, helped with that, she said.

The Yukon Quest usually starts on the first Saturday of February, according to Leideritz.

Steve Silva/CBC
Steve Silva/CBC

"I miss the people. I miss the trail," said Michelle Phillips, who competed in 2020's race.

She said she would like to compete in the race next year.

"Such a great event. I hope we have it for many more years. It's an important one," Phillips said.

In the meantime, she's preparing to compete in a different sled-dog race later this year: the Iditarod.